Too Much of a Good Thing: An Ashlynn Acosta Intuitive Discoveries Mystery

What do we own?

A Lady Desires a Painting
Artwork by Christine Soltys

For the many who have asked, Ashlynn Acosta will be making her second appearance as the intuitive teen sleuth in Too Much of a Good Thing, a young adult mystery novel set in Gloucester, Massachusetts. In the intriguing story, our heroine deals with issues of hoarding, ownership, greed and possessiveness that lead to a crime.

The problematic relationship with her single dad, a “just the facts” police detective, has healed through the challenges met and shared in Dead Men Do Tell Tales. Relishing this lively new connection with her dad, Ashlynn suspects any woman seriously claiming her father’s attention. When a beautiful redhead enters the scene, Ashlynn faces the need to solve a mystery in the midst of a budding romance between her father and this most surprising lady. Pressure builds when her buddy group divides into romantic couples and she is paired with a guy who evokes new feelings in her! She is overwhelmed by it all.

Ashlynn’s very first date takes place as she tries to uncover the real mystery in the midst of too much of too many good things. Intuition and real dreamwork are the tools Ashlynn uses to help her understand and act on her new feelings as well as unravel the secrets in a mansion on a hill where a rich old lady has been found dead.

In a Reader’s Guide at the end of the novel, you can learn more about the intuitive tools Ashlynn uses and learn how they can be employed to unlock your own mysteries and solve your own problems.

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A Blog Tour: On Intuitive Understanding

Fran Kramer, Educator

Fran Kramer

About two weeks ago a long-time friend, Gwen Plano, invited me to join her on a Blog Tour. I thought it would be an interesting way for us to tell about our books and encourage others to do the same. Gwen has just published what I would call a spiritual memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. I suggest you visit her blog and check out this profoundly moving book.

For the Blog Tour I was asked to answer four questions, which for me were ones I often address when people ask me about my books.

The Four Questions:

1) What Am I Working On? I am currently writing the sequel to a book published last year called Dead Men Do Tell Tales, a teen mystery novel that pits the intuitive and informed dreamwork talents of a teenager, Ashlynn Acosta, against the traditional gumshoe methods of her detective father. This book’s working title is Too Much of a Good Thing, and has our teenage sleuth entering her first romance amid the throes of a complex theft and murder brought on by hoarding. Her single dad is in the throes of a first romance since his wife passed away several years before. Again, father and daughter find they have much in common as they each must trust intuition in their own ways to navigate the shoals of romance and crime.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? My mystery stories are different from most in that the protagonist uses tried and true dreamwork and intuitive meditation methods learned from a dream mentor to help solve a crime. As a result the reader gets a thrilling, fast paced mystery with the added benefit of learning about developing inner skills. A Reader’s Guide in the back gives detailed explanations of the how-to’s.

A couple of reviewers have called my book something like “a New Age Nancy Drew,” a good teen mystery with the added enticements appealing to the current fascination with dreams and deeper intuitive understanding.

3) How does my writing process work? I usually resist sitting down to write but when I do, the floodgates open and I just let it flow. I often can’t type fast enough as the ideas start gushing. Eventually I reach a block and then take a break. New ideas emerge when resting, meditating or driving.

Why do I write what I do?

I write because I have a message that I am passionate about: how to access inner wisdom through dreams and meditation. I write all sorts of things for different age groups, based on their various needs for different forms of intuitive insight. Usually, I find it very easy to write because I write about things that energize me such as creative problem solving through dreamwork and the creative process itself.

It is my pleasure to introduce two very interesting and accomplished women who will continue the Blog Tour:

Diane Brandon

Diane Brandon

Diane Brandon has been an Integrative Intuitive Counselor, Intuition Expert and Teacher, Corporate Consultant, Author, and Speaker since 1992. She brings other modalities into her work, including Dream Interpretation, Individualized Guided Meditation, Regression, Natural Process Healing, and Customized Exercises and Affirmations.

She’s the author of Intuition for Beginners – Easy Ways to Awaken Your Natural Abilities and Invisible Blueprints (one of only two books on intuition that Ananda Village, based upon the precepts of Yogananda recommends), as well as several articles, and a contributing author to The Long Way Around – How 34 Women Found the Lives They Love and Speaking Out. Her next book, Dream Interpretation for Beginners, will be published in Winter 2015. Diane was the host of “Naturally Vibrant Living” on Web Talk Radio and Blog Talk Radio and “Vibrantly Green with Diane Brandon” on Ecology.com. She also has Meditation CDs available, including “A Journey Within Meditation,“ “Natural Process Healing,” and “Brainstorm in the Boardroom with Great Leaders,” as well as exercises for intuitive development.

Diane has appeared extensively on radio shows throughout the country, having been interviewed on dreams and intuition.

Her two websites are www.dianebrandon.com and www.dianebrandon.net. She may be contacted at diane@dianebrandon.com.

Jean Raffa

Jean Raffa

Dr. Jean Raffa is an author, speaker, and leader of workshops, dream groups, and study groups. Her job history includes teacher, television producer, college professor, and instructor at the Disney Institute in Orlando and The Jung Center in Winter Park, FL. She is the author of four books, a workbook, a chapter in a college text, numerous articles in professional journals, and a series of meditations and short stories for Augsburg Fortress Publisher.

Her newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World was launched by Larson Publications, Inc. at the New York Book Fair in June of 2012. In 2013 it won the Wilbur Award, which is given by the Religion Communicators Council for excellence in communicating religious faith and values in the public arena and for encouraging understanding among faith groups on a national level.

Jean is also the author of The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, and Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dream Work.

Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords,and Diesel Ebooks

Dr. Raffa’s websites are http://jeanraffa.wordpress.com/ and www.jeanraffa.com.

Dreaming of Someone’s Death: What Can Be Done?

Dream of Someone Dy8ing

The Knight’s Death by Antonio de Pereda

Having recorded my dreams for over 35 years, I can refer to a number of dreams that made me aware beforehand someone was going to die. Recently, I had another one of those dreams and they are unsettling—no matter how long or well you have worked with dreams. It is a fairly common phenomenon so I have decided to share some reflections on my experience:

The Dream Could be Symbolic

Take heart in that not every dream about someone dying means that person is going to die in the near future. It may be suggesting your relationship with that person is undergoing a change and will not remain the same. It may also mean that a part of you, which that person symbolizes, is dying. For example, you dream about your young 20-something neighbor dying might mean your relationship with that person is going through a death and rebirth or that the 20-something in you is dying as you see the first gray hairs in the mirror. Your gut instinct will tell you if your dream means any of these two things.

When the Dream is Prophetic of a Real Death

However, some dreams are literal, and one such dream could really mean the 20-something will die. Since every dream is a gift even when we would rather not get the information contained in these letters from the Unconscious; remember that a dream about someone dying was given for the reason such as to help you to prepare for the event or better appreciate the person while he or she is still alive. For example, I dreamed of my father’s and mother’s deaths long before these events happened. I even saw in a dream how my mother would die—in the arms of my father. The sadness in my heart told me these dreams where prophetic. Here is how I responded to the dreams:

  • I made it a point to visit my parents and spend quality time with them.
  • I tried to do little and big things that meant something to them.
  • I told them I loved them and communicated other important things I needed to say.
  • I might add that if I were in someway responsible for my parents’ trust fund or end of life directive, I would have asked them if all those things were in order, if I didn’t know.

When my parents did pass, I felt no regrets and the inner critic saying, “You should have done…” As a result my grief was clean, viewing it as a privilege to mourn and honor these two amazing people who brought me into the world.

So when I had the dream of a close friend dying, and felt in my gut that this dream indicated she might really die at some point in the future, I now focus on spending quality time with this person, doing fun things we like to do. I try to show appreciation for what she does for me. I have not told her about my dream because I think it would be pointless. Since in my dream she died of natural causes and not from a plane or car accident, there is nothing I can do to prevent her possible death other than offer the usual friend’s advice (when appropriate) about eating well, exercising and getting a good night’s rest.

In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, teen detective Ashlynn has learned to work with dreams about someone dying. In this case, she is able to see the dream as a messenger to help her police father solve a crime.

4 Coaching Tasks of a Dream Mentor

Ashlynn Acosta with Dream Mentor

Ashlynn Acosta with her Dream Mentor, Maeve Merton

A dream mentor is very much like a midwife, but instead of helping the mother birth a new person into the world, the dream mentor supports the dreamer who is like a mother birthing of a new consciousness into awareness and action. Dreamwork, when done with the help of an experienced mentor, is an intentional exercise used to facilitate the process, much like a midwife would instruct the laboring woman to breath or sit in a position that will help the birthing process along.

A dream is a symbol for a new awareness waiting to take on life, and it is the role of the mentor to not create the new awareness but just to help it along. Dream mentoring is basically a helping and facilitating role, not a directing role. It is guided by nature’s way of bringing new awareness into our waking world.

Towards this end a good dream mentor will prepare the dreamer to give birth to new consciousness by coaching the dreamer:

  1. To record and remember dreams. For many people, just making the intention to do these two things is a major step in a new direction and often prompts the dreamer to remember his or her dreams. Following through on the choice alone quite often helps people to become more aware of their dreams.
  2. To work with dreams through various kinds of processes such as association, storytelling, improvisation, and re-enactment.
  3. To proactively seek solutions for problems and concerns through dream incubation and lucid dreaming. Instead of just waiting for an answer from a dream, the dreamer can request a specific answer from a dream by asking to have a dream that will provide the answer. Writing the dream down and making the intention the night before helps a great deal to get a good result.
  4. To work in a dream group whereby members can help each other with their dreams or can dream for each other such as is done in Henry Reed’s Dream Helper Ceremony.

For an example of how a dream mentor works, please read or have your children read Dead Men Do Tell Tales, a teen mystery novel. In the story thirteen-year-old Ashlynn Acosta learns how to work with dreams from a dream mentor, Maeve Merton. With this assistance she learns to turn nightmares into problem solving tools, heals grief and helps save a friend suspected of a murder. She has learned skills that will help her for life and set her above her peers in accessing an important inner resource that can be relied upon in time of crisis.

4 Benefits of Using Dreams to Work with Grief

Dreams Can Heal Grief

Emerging Dream Insights of Ashlynn Acosta


Dreams of loved ones either shortly or long after they have passed seem to indicate that our ties with them are not cut. Over many years of working with my dreams and helping my students work with theirs, I am of the belief that a relationship with a deceased loved one can actually get resolved or made better through dreams.
Dreams provide the opportunity to meet once again with a person who is irrevocably gone from us on this earth. Through a visitation in a dream, we can say what we need to say and hear what we need to hear from the deceased. For example, while she was alive, I always thought my mother never really understood me even though I knew she loved me. However, the night after she died, I saw her standing before me, looking healthy, happy and radiant. She told me that now she did truly understand who I was and how special I was to her. This dream healed an old heart ache and provided great joy. As it would be for most people, this dream was for me a serendipitous gift given; something not consciously intended but some great and fortuitous “A-hah” experience that just happened out of the blue.

We Can Request a Dream Meeting with a Deceased Person

What most people don’t know is that a dream like this can be requested for a specific purpose. All that is needed is a strong and sincere intention or request made before sleep to have such a dream. Be as specific as possible why such a dream is desired. Write down the request on paper and put it by the bed.
This method is especially good in working with nightmares connected to the loss of a loved one. In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Ashlynn Acosta learns that by asking for dreams about her mother she can even turn nightmares into dreams of joy and abiding peace—good indicators that the grief associated with her loss is healing as well. So through a visitation in a dream, like Ashlynn, we can say hello again, ask how the person is doing on the other side, seek advice from that person or work through issues that remain unresolved. Through dreams, discovery is made at the gut level that:

1. The deceased person is still alive and in relationship.
2. The deceased is nearby and helping in some capacity.
3. Goodbyes and good wishes can still be given and received.
4. Old issues can still be resolved.

4 Reasons Why Dream Talk Goes Well with Breakfast Toast and Orange Juice

Ashlynn Acosta Dreams

Ashlynn Acosta Dreams

If given the slightest encouragement, most of us—even teenagers who are usually reluctant to talk about what’s going—enjoy talking about our dreams, especially the fun ones like flying or exploring new places. We also like to explore the meaning of a particular dream and get feedback when it is done in a respectful and supportive manner. This practice, especially if carried on regularly and informally in a comfortable setting like breakfast when the previous night’s dream is still fresh in the mind, has the following benefits. It

  1. Brings kids and their parents together in a conversation to which all can contribute and offer advice.
  2. Acknowledges that dreams play an important role in our lives and are not just side shows that either entertain or scare us.
  3. Lets the maturing child know that dreams are not something to fear, repress and forget but are gifts from our sleeping life that want integration into our waking life. They are messages from an important place inside of us which can give us insight on how to problem solve, create and heal.
  4. Introduces the child to a basic method of working with dreams and other insights from the unconscious which empower that child to draw on and use his or her own inner resources, thus giving the child a competitive edge most kids don’t have in dealing with problems.

In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Ashlynn initiates the practice of talking to her father about her dreams. Like many people, he doesn’t hold much faith in dreams and in his own way is perhaps afraid of them. Ashlynn, however, has had the advantage of working with a dream mentor who helped her recover from her mother’s death through dreamwork. She knows dreams are important and wants to get her father involved in this important side of her life. She succeeds when her detective father realizes her dreams offer important insights into a crime he is trying to solve.

4 Reasons for Teaching Meditation to Teenagers

Ashlynn Acosta Meditating

Ashlynn Acosta Learns to Meditate

Learning to meditate is basically learning to use the inner intuitive resources we all have within us—resources which unfortunately are rarely recognized in our society as an educational necessity and are almost never developed in a conscious fashion until we are in middle age. Considering that the great breakthroughs of science and artistic creativity involve using these internal assets, it is a wonder that education hasn’t been more systematic in developing programs to help younger people access and develop this dimension of being human. Learning to meditate is important for teenagers because:

1) Our Educational System Usually Works Counter-Intuitively

The big irony is that we are already born intuitive, and as small children dwell in a world alive with the insights and wonders of the imaginative mind. It is education itself that often whittles away at our natural instincts by telling us to act rationally and be realistic, whatever that means, trusting only what can be seen with the eye and be proven by statistics. In a sense, it is like asking us to operate on half a brain, seeing things in black and white and ignoring all the shades of gray.

2) Teaching Meditation Goes Far to Bring Along the Child’s Sense of Wonderment into Adulthood

Teaching meditation to teenagers is important at a time when kids are losing that magical state of childhood to the demands of social and peer pressure with the need to conform and measure up. Kids need to know that important aspects of their childhood, like their sense of wonder, their love of stories and oneness with things, is not to be forgotten. Just the opposite, these memories and abilities are meant to be nurtured and brought forward into adulthood. Meditation brings the mind and heart back to the mindset of a child lying under a tree looking up at the clouds with all the time in world gaze at the wonders of the world.

3) Teaching Meditation Gives Teenagers Access to Inner Resources

All of us in life will be faced with uncertainty, and be put in dilemmas where there are no concrete answers or where we are powerless to act based on what is available to the waking mind. In these cases, accessing and gaining intuitive information can go far in making choices that reflect the key values of the person—informing choices that a person can live comfortably with later no matter what the consequences. Dead Men Do Tell Tales is a teen mystery novel where the protagonist, Ashlynn Acosta, learns how meditation can help her in a powerless situation. She discovers resources she didn’t know she had to solve a crime and save a friend.

4) Discovering Inner Resources Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem

Much has been made of the role of parents in building self-esteem and confidence. These are factors coming from without and depend heavily on the child’s relationship to the parents. However, when a child discovers his or her own inner resources and power through meditation, the chances of that new level of self-awareness sinking in are much greater. Here is a case where” seeing is believing” is really true.

Want to Rely More On Your Intuition? Try These Four Tips to Get You Started.

Intuition: A Light Out of Darkness

Intuition: A Light Out of Darkness

Relying on one’s own intuition is often thought of as a little dicey but the following tips about intuitive insight can help you develop your inner powers by learning to recognize when intuition occurs and when you can trust it.

  1. Intuitive insights are often very subtle, but this doesn’t take away their truthfulness or helpfulness. You are not alone if you think they are vague and hard to grasp. Insights may be nothing more than a fleeting memory, a sensation at the back of the neck, a few notes of music heard out of the blue. The key here is to be aware, and to take nothing as accidental, especially if you are experiencing something in your body or your mind that wasn’t obviously prompted by something else. In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Ashlynn Acosta often feels the hairs on the back of her neck stand up when her intuition kicks in. Other people may experience a tingling in the neck, or the traditional “gut feeling.” Just being aware of how your body customarily picks up intuitive messages is a starter for learning how to recognize intuition when it comes.
  2. Intuitive insights seem to come out of nowhere; even if you may have been deliberate and specific in asking for a particular insight. It is very different from saying, “Now I am going to imagine a red house,” and I see a red house in my mind’s eye. Usually, insights float into consciousness as images, feelings, trains of thought, and physical sensations which may seem at first unrelated to what was on the mind. Sometimes they can come in a sudden flash, the typical “A-hah!” And the answers are usually quite different from what you’d expect. Ashlynn in a remote viewing session is surprised to discover that the possible suspect picks an object up from a scene she is remembering. This is new to her conscious mind. She didn’t remember this happening. The image comes from out the blue and surprises her.
  3. Intuitive insights often have an oddity to them such as the tone of voice if one hears a voice or a unique rhythm if words come to mind in a sentence. They have the quality of something so odd; you just know you couldn’t have thought it up yourself. For example, Ashlynn finds the dog that is leading her in her dream to be odd. She doesn’t own a dog nor does she know anyone who owns the kind of dog she sees in her dream. She recognizes this image as being an important piece of intuitive information and knows to ask questions around this image.
  4. Intuitive insights have the characteristic of wanting to reveal themselves and will respond to gentle questioning and reflection. Ask a question of an image and then let the image percolate in your heart for the day and see what associations arise. For example, if a strange and interesting image comes to mind, ask yourself, like Ashlynn does, what associations also come to mind that are connected to this image:
  • What does this image remind me of in my life right now?
  • If I asked the image a question, what would it say?

If you get into a habit of working with intuition along these lines, you will find that answers do come and that they can be relied on. You just need to practice a little. Just try it and see!

Bringing Gratitude, Caring, Focus and Intentionality to Creative Problem Solving

Ashlynn Acosta Dreams:  Meaningful Symbols Appear in Dreams

Ashlynn Acosta Dreams: Meaningful Symbols Appear in Dreams

 

Dreaming and intuitive work are important tools teen detective Ashlynn Acosta uses to find clues in Dead Men Do Tell Tales because they are intentional and proactive methods used to get a focused result that can be trusted in a rather short amount of time.

This is very different from the way intuitive insight is often handled in mystery stories where the detective may be lucky to get a vague gut feeling relating to the case.  Often the detective doesn’t know why he has the feeling or what the feeling might be connected to in the vast number of variables related to the case.  This gut level method suggests that one needs to sit around and wait for some “Aha” to arrive out of the blue to give understanding to the hunch.

However, Intuition and information from dreams are gifts that are available to us almost all the time when we have an important problem to solve.  We just need to set the stage to receive those gifts, and readers of Dead Men Do Tell Tales discover along with Ashlynn how this might be done.  Here are some prerequisites for making oneself ready to receive intuitive insight, either in waking or the dream state.

  • Be thankful for any insights you have received in the past from dreams and gut feeling
  • Focus on a specific issue that you are genuinely concerned about, either for yourself or someone else.  Studies by Henry Reed, Ph.D., of the Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies indicate that intuition works more strongly when used in service to the needs of others.
  • Before meditation or going to sleep, ask or make an intention that you want information about the specific issue.  Be precise as possible about the information you are seeking.  For example, instead of asking how to bring about peace in the world, you would ask what you could do today that would contribute to peace in your part of the world.

An attitude of thankfulness opens your heart out to the providence of your inner resources.  Focusing on a genuine problem with an attitude of helpfulness directs and jump starts the flow of energy in the Universe. Being specific helps control the type, quality and relevance of information you receive.  With the stage set, you can expect to receive useful information and will be one step closer to connecting you to the many gifts that lie within.

Can you work with dreams?

Do you think you are a gifted dreamer like Ashlynn Acosta in Dead Men Do Tell Tales? Take the following poll to find out!

Each of the questions in this poll may indicate how a person’s dream talents manifest in his or her life. Yes, even nightmares are gifts because they have important insights to give us. Dreamwork on a regular basis will mine the jewels that lay hidden in these expressions of dream talent. Which dream talents show up for you?

If you answer “Yes” to most or all of these questions, you indeed possess the gift of dreams! If you are not already doing so, begin the practice of writing down your dreams in a dream journal and use dreamwork methods to draw out their profound insights.